Monday, December 14, 2009

15 comments MMQB Review: Peter Tells Us 14 Things We Need To Know

It's almost near Christmas but every Monday is like Christmas for me because I know Peter King is going to post his MMQB full of obvious thoughts and biased opinions on his favorite players and teams. Will Peter say what a great player DeSean Jackson is or will he talk a little bit about that Andre Johnson fellow who may be a great receiver one day? Before he gets to telling us obvious things like that, Peter has something he needs us to all know about the NFL. Listen up, this is important stuff.

Fourteen things you need to know on the heels of Week 14:

I get it! Fourteen things that we need to know AND it was just Week 14 of the NFL season! What a way to tie it all together!

1. The 16-0 talk is radioactive. No one wants to touch it. It's almost like going undefeated, and talking about going undefeated, is going to turn your season to dust. Whatever happened to seeking excellence and wanting to be the best?

Except for the fact Sean Payton had said earlier this (last?) week that he was going for a perfect record and didn't plan on sitting his starters. Other than the fact the head coach for one of the teams that is perfect has talked about it, yes it is toxic.

Manning will play at least a series in all three games, to keep his starting streak alive; he's started every game of his professional career since being drafted in 1998.

Of course, because as Brett Favre and Cal Ripken have shown us nothing is more important than keeping a consecutive wins streak alive, even if it is means that you hurt the team in the process by playing when you are injured or ineffective. Granted, Peyton Manning has neither of these problems but I just wanted to point out that consecutive games streaks really aren't that important in the long run.

In New Orleans, Jonathan Vilma says his team's focus will be on winning a championship, not going 16-0, and however that could best be attempted is the way he thinks the players want to go. "It's tough,'' Vilma said. "Fans are confused. We're not trying to go for 16-0. We're trying to win a title.''

Congratulations Saints players you have won the NFC South title, so there's your title.

Why do I get the feeling the Saints are going for 16-0 while the Colts are trying to win a Super Bowl, but the Colts probably won't win the Super Bowl while the Saints seem to have a good chance? It's the irony of all ironies that I feel this way.

2. Bill Belichick has one of the biggest challenges of his coaching career on his hands, and how he handles it will go a long way in determining the 2009 fate of the Patriots. I detail Randy Moss' canine performance against Carolina Sunday in Goat of the Week, but suffice to say he's not playing hard and is totally useless in the lineup.

The rule Boston has learned? You can't trust a fah-king dahkie! (I didn't do that right did I?)

Except for Len Bias, of course, who was completely going to be in the Hall of Fame after he played 17 seasons for the Celtics (and only the Celtics). Bias was going to play in 18 All-Star Games (the wonderful Celtics fans would have voted him in to the All-Star Game even after he retired to become GM of the Celtics) and win 14 MVPs. Just ask Bill Simmons, he said Bias was going to give Jordan a run for his money as the best player in the NBA. That's one guy Boston fans could trust. Of course it's also easier to make up shit about a player when no one will ever know for sure what he could have done because he is dead. But it's pretty clear Bias was going to the Hall of Fame...because lottery picks never bust in the NBA do they?

3. You've got to like Tom Brady trying to put the pressure for the Patriots' performance down the stretch on his shoulders. "Put it on me,'' he said over the cell phone on his way home from Foxboro on Sunday evening. "That's where I want it -- on me.'' You asked for it, you got it.

(Peter King slowly reaches down into his pants and says, "you want it on you, I'll give it to you, you manl---" then realizes he is on set with Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison looking at him very oddly...yet with a look of knowing)

We talked for maybe 15 minutes, and I'd have thought he'd be exasperated by a few things -- Moss, how poorly they were playing across the board the last month, the fourth-down-conversion problems, the Adalius Thomas fiasco. But no. Brady was ridiculously optimistic. "It's like a heavyweight fight,'' he said. "A boxing match. We just gotta keep fighting. We're not the same team as we were last year or the year before, but I haven't lost faith in us at all. It's just that our margin of error is so small.'' Whereas in 2007, Brady had a couple of professional receivers, Donte Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney, as his third and fourth wideouts after Moss and Welker, now he's got the green Aiken and Julian Edelman (who's been hurt consistently).

No sportswriter knows the New England Patriots roster like Peter King and this includes Patriots beat writers, Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick. No one knows the Patriots depth chart better.

I am actually surprised to see Peter King didn't congratulate Tom Brady on having another child in the MMQB today. I thought for sure he would do that, especially after he mentioned a few weeks ago that Tomlinson's wife was pregnant.

We were 18-0 and didn't win the Super Bowl. You never know. Don't lose faith in us.'' When I got off the phone with him, I thought: That's what he's going to say to his team this week.

Peter then got incredibly excited at the fact that he was going to get to write about Tom Brady and the Patriots in the playoffs. There's nothing like watching your favorite team in the NFL playoffs fighting to win a game.

No T.O. No Westbrook. It's so new. It's almost like Reid got his contract extension and lost all his cares in the world and said, "We're going for it.''

Who are these guys? The Harlem Globetrotters?

Yes Peter, the Philadelphia Eagles are also the Harlem Globetrotters. Surprise!

I think the thing that impressed me the most about the Eagles is that they gave up 38 points to the Giants last night. Wait hold on, that didn't impress me. I wouldn't imagine that could be a problem down the road could it?

7. What? Mark Ingram as the next Emmitt? Quick scouting analysis from a veteran NFL man who has seen Heisman winner Mark Ingram several times in person over his two years at Alabama: "Has a similar style to Emmitt Smith ... Remains to be seen if he's as good. Very productive, breaks tackles, uses a stiff arm well ... Won't have off-the-chart measurables in terms of size and speed, but he's very strong through the hips and shoulders. Emmitt went 17 overall. Just a guess, but I think Ingram will go around 22.''

The Heisman is a fucking sham. I can't take it seriously with assholes like Eric Crouch and Gino Torretta up there. Just add Mark Ingram to that list. Any time a running back doesn't have speed they compare him to Emmitt Smith. Well, Mark Ingram is not Emmitt Smith at all. How the hell did the Heisman go to a running back who wasn't even the best running back in the country? Or his conference? Or even possibly his team? (Trent Richardson could be better)

I didn't watch the Heisman because I know it is a sham. You have half ass players winning the award because they played on teams that were good. What a freaking coincidence it is that the best player in the nation also JUST SO HAPPENS to play on the best team in the nation. I get so tired of hearing about the "regional breakdowns" and all of that crap. It's a bias and it annoys the shit out of me. What happens is these stupid voters don't watch every game these players play, they just vote for who is in their region of proximity. You can't tell me any voter east of the Mississippi River watched more than 2 Stanford games this year to see Toby Gerhart play. The Heisman is irrelevant in my eyes and has been for a while.

11. Someone throw a life preserver to Wade Phillips. For Phillips to keep his job, he's going to have to win a game (or two) he's not supposed to. Like this Saturday night's game in New Orleans, or a wild card game on the road. I don't think it's likely. So if we're looking at the tea leaves, it means Mike Shanahan and Bill Cowher will be left to duel for jobs in Washington, Dallas, Buffalo, maybe Carolina and maybe Chicago -- though I can't imagine Chicago will pay in Dan Snyder's or Jerry Jones' league if the Bears decide to make a change.

I have discussed this at length before, but I don't get the fascination with hiring an expensive coach like Bill Cowher or Mike Shanahan when there are assistant coaches in the NFL, younger, cheaper and more capable of relating and coaching NFL players. Nothing against Shanahan and Cowher but it's not like they are going to come in and make a team go on a run of 4-5 consecutive playoffs their first 4-5 years while earning their $10 million dollar salaries. They are good coaches, but the fascination with these two is bit too much.

Bill Cowher has won 1 Super Bowl and lost several home AFC Championship Games. Granted, he didn't always have the best quarterback (Neil O'Donnell/Kordell Stewart aren't bad but aren't legends either), but isn't it the job of the head coach to get a capable quarterback. Doesn't anyone remember this? Remember how he couldn't win the big game until the Steelers finally won a Super Bowl in one of the most boring Super Bowls of recent memory against the Seahawks? How come I remember these type things and the media doesn't? They are not bad coaches but they are also not saviors.

12. Ndamukong Suh is the best defensive player to come out of college football this decade. As I said on "Football Night in America'' last night, I spoke with the GMs of both one-win teams this weekend -- Billy Devaney of the Rams, Mark Dominik of the Bucs -- and there's little doubt that Suh will be at the top of the draft boards of both teams. Usually there's some doubt who the premier player in the draft will be four months out, but not this year.

Peter hasn't watched more than one game that Suh has played in this year, but he is just parrotting what two GM's of horrible football teams are telling him. I realize they will have two high picks this year, but shouldn't Peter get the opinion of two GM's who actually have had success in the NFL as a General Manager?

Peter isn't wrong about this, he just needs to judge for himself and quit just quoting what everyone tells him. It annoys me.

Said Dominik: "The only thing that worries me is living up to the hype. If he gets six sacks as a rookie playing defensive tackle, someone's going to call him a bust because of the high expectations. How's he going to handle that?''

Umm, who would do that?...Chris Chase.

1. New Orleans (13-0). When the Saints needed big plays, it wasn't only Drew Brees who provided them. Reggie Bush did, with two TDs -- and doesn't he look angry out there when he scores? --

You'd be angry too if your girlfriend (ex-girlfriend) was on television talking about your relationship on her reality television show.

5. Arizona (8-4). The running game has actually become competent. Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower, combined, are averaging a quite respectable 4.4 yards a carry entering the game that could clinch the NFC West title for the Cards tonight.

Clinching the NFC West, what an accomplishment. Congratulations Arizona, you don't suck as bad as the rest of your semi-shitty division. How is Arizona better than Philadelphia and Green Bay?

12. New England (8-5). "This is the flattest game I've ever done,'' Tony Siragusa said from the field on the FOX telecast of Panthers-Pats. Another failed fourth-down call, Randy Moss looking like he wished he was anywhere but there, no tight end getting open, Steve Smith whipping corners ... I know there are no ugly wins, but this win was exceedingly unattractive. I'll say this: It's a good thing the Patriots have Tom Brady -- even in a season where he's been mortal half the time -- or their season would be over this morning.

It's also a good thing for the Patriots that Carolina doesn't have a competent quarterback or else that game would have been over in the first half and Brady/Welker wouldn't have gotten to be heroes. I don't mean this as an indictment of the Patriots winning, they deserved to win, but it's amazing how a competent quarterback would turn some teams into playoff contenders. I always thought he even a good team could overcome an incompetent quarterback, but I am starting to believe this isn't true.

"I would turn in all three Super Bowl rings and my Hall of Fame bust for one undefeated season.''
-- Michael Irvin, on NFL Network's Sunday morning pregame show.

My one question for you, Mike: Have you lost your mind?

My question for you, Peter: Don't you remember Michael Irvin?

Defensive Player of the Week

Brian Orakpo, OLB, Washington.

Who'd have thought Orakpo would have rushed the pass more productively in the first 13 games of his rookie year than Demarcus Ware, Julius Peppers and LaMarr Woodley? By the measure of sacks, he has. His four-sack day at Oakland (sacks for losses of nine, nine, nine and 10 yards) gave him 11 for the year.

Not me. I did not expect this at all. Just go to the "NFL Draft" tag I have for this year's draft and read my comparing him to Vernon Gholston. I was wrong about that. One thing I am right about is the fact he HASN'T had a better rookie year than Julius Peppers. Peppers had 12 sacks in 12 games his rookie season. I know Peter doesn't know what team Peppers plays for, but just Google the name and do some research. I am pretty sure 12 sacks in 12 games (Peppers was suspended 4 games for a positive banned substance test) is a better rookie year, in terms of sacks, than 11 sacks in 13 games.

The Arctic weather (minus-5 wind chill) helped in a 13-6 beatdown of the Steelers, certainly, because the Steeler receivers were neutralized by the deep freeze and the slippery field. But give lots of credit to Mangini, who has steadfastly maintained he is building a program, cleaning up the salary cap and adding draft choices for future Browns teams he plans to build in his image.

I like how Mangini is an idiot coach who is stubbornly building a losing team according to nearly everyone over the past 13 weeks, but after the Browns win one game Mangini is smart to stick to his program and is just building the Browns in the image he wants them built in. It's amazing how perceptions change depending on whether a team is winning or not.

1. Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis. Nine picks in his last five games. But Manning stays in this spot because you're going to have picks with new receivers (Austin Collie, Pierre Garcon), and the Colts are 13-0, and Manning's getting the least help from his running game of the three main dudes. Colts running game is 28th, Saints fifth and Vikes 10th.

Which is why Peyton Manning is the MVP this year. I don't know if a strong case can be made for anyone else except maybe Drew Brees.

3. I think this is what doomed the Steelers this year: a poor offensive line (aided by some poor pocket decisions by Ben Roethlisberger), the inability to ever establish the run the way classic Steeler teams of this era did, and lousy defensive depth.

You wouldn't think a team that had a poor offensive line and no running game would struggle do you? More importantly, how the hell did the Steelers win the Super Bowl last year with these exact same problems?

The Heisman has been awarded 75 times, all to players who touched the ball, with one asterisk. Charles Woodson won it in 1997 as a corner/wideout/kick-returner; he was primarily a defensive player. But the only way he won it is because he had the versatile-player tag -- not because he was a superior cornerback. If Suh isn't going to win it, or even strongly contend, after making 35 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and knocking down the quarterback another 24 times, why continue the charade of saying the Heisman is awarded to the best player in college football. It's just not.

Amen. The most dominant offensive player in football would have easily gotten the Heisman Trophy, there is no reason the most dominant defensive player in football shouldn't do the very same.

e. I can't get over Randy Moss. If you didn't see the game, find someone who TiVOed it. Disgraceful.

This is the fourth time Peter has brought the Randy Moss issue up in his column this week. He has mentioned this 4 times but hasn't mentioned a thing about the team the Patriots played, except in talking about the Patriots also, once in his column this week. Just thought I would mention that.

c. Trying to figure out what movie to see this week. There's about 10 my wife and I want to see. Ideas?

Yes, I have an idea. How about you open up a newspaper or go on the Internet and look up the names and times of the movies you want to see and then make a decision for yourself on what movie you want to watch and stop relying on other people to do your thinking for you? Is this too easy to do?

g. Jason Bay's defense gets worse by the day. I don't get it. Watched the guy for a year and a half ad he seemed pretty average. Now he's being talked about in butcher fashion. I never saw that Jason Bay.

Remember that Peter King also called Derek Jeter the best player he has seen in his lifetime (which Peter actually constitutes as the last 25 years), so take that into account when determining whether Peter knows what he is talking about or not when discussing Jason Bay's defense.

h. Peter Gammons, for all of us who have been tremendously influenced by your career and your passion, thank you, thank you and thank you again. It'll be good to see you on NESN and MLB Network this season, but I take it your friends around the country won't see as much of you. Their loss. Your baseball notes column from the Globe days was often imitated, never duplicated.

Write an email, letter, or make a phone call to tell Peter Gammons this. Why does Peter use his MMQB as a personal message sender? It's the most impersonal way to send a message. I think he does this just to irritate me.

If you want, sign up for the College Football Pick 'Em. The information is in Friday or Saturday's post.


rich said...

1. New Orleans (13-0). When the Saints needed big plays, it wasn't only Drew Brees who provided them. Reggie Bush did, with two TDs -- and doesn't he look angry out there when he scores

Peter does realize those were on pass plays right? So Brees did provide those TDs, you know, because he had to throw the ball to Bush.

"I would turn in all three Super Bowl rings and my Hall of Fame bust for one undefeated season.''
-- Michael Irvin, on NFL Network's Sunday morning pregame show.

My one question for you, Mike: Have you lost your mind?

Maybe he was talking about just the regular season, but wouldn't a true undefeated season mean that you'd essentially trade 3 rings for an undefeated season and a ring? It's still pretty idiotic and I'm (as I seem to do a lot) nitpicking, but figured I'd throw that out there.

The Arctic weather (minus-5 wind chill) helped in a 13-6 beatdown of the Steelers, certainly, because the Steeler receivers were neutralized by the deep freeze and the slippery field. But give lots of credit to Mangini, who has steadfastly maintained he is building a program, cleaning up the salary cap and adding draft choices for future Browns teams he plans to build in his image.

Also because Heinz Field has never, ever been called slippery or shoddy or a piss poor field. Oh and it's never cold in Pittsburgh either. So ya, the cold and the slippery field, that's exactly what helped Cleveland.

Jason Bay's defense gets worse by the day. I don't get it. Watched the guy for a year and a half ad he seemed pretty average. Now he's being talked about in butcher fashion. I never saw that Jason Bay.

Not mentioned: Jacoby Ellisbury. Having a fast CF enables you to use defensive liabilities in one of the corner spots.

For example, the last two years the Phillies have had Pat Burrell and Raul Ibanez as the LF... Both are pretty much the definition of "defensive liability," but Shane Victorino can cover more ground, so the Phillies have the luxury of having a below average defensive LF.

I don't watch many Red Sox games, but I suspect that's exactly what's happening. Bay's defense probably does suck, but he looks "average" because Ellisbury is able to make up for any deficiencies.

So Peter King sucks at math, football and baseball now. I can't wait until he tries to talk about the outdoor hockey game at Fenway this year. I fully expect him to get the drubbing he so deserves.

rich said...

And by Ellisbury, I mean Ellsbury.

/show self door

Dubs said...

1. New Orleans (13-0). When the Saints needed big plays, it wasn't only Drew Brees who provided them. Reggie Bush did, with two TDs -- and doesn't he look angry out there when he scores

Peter does realize those were on pass plays right? So Brees did provide those TDs, you know, because he had to throw the ball to Bush.

Not only that, but on the 2nd Bush TD (the screen pass on 3rd and 20), any running back in the NFL could have scored. Actually any person who can move at all could have scored. He made no moves, just ran straight through open field. The blocking/play design/execution was phenominal, or the Falcons sucked it up.

Bengoodfella said...

Look, Reggie Bush made those plays, Drew Brees just threw the ball to put them in position to make the plays. He gets no credit for this.

Hmmm...I would assume he is talking about an undefeated regular season and winning the Super Bowl. It may be close in Irvin's mind but I think it is tough to pass up a chance to win 3 Super Bowls...even against an undefeated season.

Obviously you are right that having Ellsbury's speed in CF helps out Bay, but I don't know how Peter doesn't get this. Mediocre OF's look pretty good when paired with fast defensive outfielders. Still, if I were a team looking at Jason Bay, I am not looking at him for defense.

Shit, Peter King will BE AT the hockey game and give us a first hand account. I can't wait.

Dubs, maybe someone who can run fairly fast could score the touchdown, not just anyone who can walk but you still have a good point. I think it was a case of the blocking being great and the Falcons fell for the screen.

Go said...

"Whatever happened to seeking excellence and wanting to be the best?"

Doesn't going 16-0 mean you achieved excellence and are the best? I don't understand the difference.
Am I the only one who doubts that he actually talks to players for 10 minutes while they are driving home? What athlete would think to themselves on the way home, "I need to call my best bud, PK." I could understand if one or two were close to him but PK claims that several dozen call or text him all the time. I just find it hard to believe. Most athletes look at reporters as neccessary evils who they are required to talk to a certain amount each week. Why they would want to talk more, and to PK, is beyond me.

I agree with what Steve Czaban wrote today. Either change the description of the Heisman to the best "back" quarter- or running-, whereby it becomes as important as the Butkus, Walker, etc. awards. Or have an Offisive and Defensive Heisman winner each year. The purest will go nuts but who cares? The award is such a joke.

RuleBook said...

Here's an idea. Since everyone is so crazy about playoffs in college football, how about we have a Heisman playoff?

Just as we do now, we have semifinalists for each of the position awards. A winner comes from them. Then, all of the offensive winners get matched up and a best offensive player is selected from them, and the same thing with the defense. Finally, we pit the best offensive player versus the best defensive player.

Under those circumstances, the Heisman would be Gerhart vs Suh, and I could be happy with either of those. It's pathetic that the player who won the award for the best running back lost the Heisman to another running back.

Bengoodfella said...

Go, I sort of have doubted Peter King talks to the players that long each time, but he tries really hard to be their friend so I may be wrong about that. I think players know that Peter King can serve as a PR guy as sorts for them if he writes about them enough.

16-0 does mean you have achieved excellence but you haven't yet won the Super Bowl...which I guess is the big measuring stick for a team. Though 16-0 is something to be proud of as well, it may just be as much fun if the team doesn't win the Super Bowl.

There should probably be an offensive and defensive Heisman at this point.

Rulebook, that is a great idea but the offensive player would beat the defensive player every time in the "playoff." I know it is not all based on yards gained, but Toby Gerhart had more yards rushed for than Mark Ingram and I would bet he did it with an offensive line that wasn't as good. Regardless I think Suh should have won, but that wasn't happening.

A playoff is a good idea, but much like the college football playoffs, that's not happening.

Martin F. said...

I think he meant Orakpoe has more sacks in this, his rookie year, then those other guys do this year, not their rookie years. It's just the way he phrases it, I think he's comparing this years stats across the board on the guys he mentioned, and is congratulating Orakpoe for besting them even though it's his rookie year.

Bengoodfella said...

Martin, that would make more sense. I get it now after I re-read it twice. I thought he was talking about each of those players in their rookie years. He did phrase that sentence a little bit odd.

Martin F. said...

For a professional writer he chokes the shit out of teh English language sometimes.

KentAllard said...

Here's PK's coverage of the hockey game in advance:

"It's really cold here. I can't believe they are playing outside. What's the deal? At least I'm in the press box."
"The coffee is awful here. When will you realize the fans want Starbucks, Fenway Park?"
"The guy next to me kept making a racket, jumping up and yelling because of something happening on the hockey court. It was very distracting, as I was trying to text back-and-forth with Brett's daughter."
"I think the Bruins won. They scored a lot of points. Well designed offense, Coach Don Cherry."

Bengoodfella said...

I blame Peter's editor as much as I blame Peter for his bad grammar and sentence structure. Of course, my sentence structure is terrible as well.

Kent, you forgot about the part where he talks about how good Milan Lucic and Marc Savard are at hockey. Other than that, you are pretty much right, though he will also complain about the price of food at the hockey game compared to the baseball games at Fenway.

rich said...

I'd also say PK will say something about how the game would be better if they made the rinks bigger and how "classic" Boston's jersey is.

Bonus material: If the game goes to OT/Shootout, PK will spend half his article talking about how OT in football needs to be fixed (Brett Favre will be sure to make an appearance) and then rip on the idea of the shootout.

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, I can only imagine what will happen this year if any of Peter's favorites get knocked out of the playoffs in an OT game where they don't get the ball at all. Peter's head may fly off in a fit of rage and he will write about it every single day.

Martin F. said...

I can hardly wait for both the AFC and NFC Championship Games to end in ties, go to OT, and the Chargers and Saints both win the toss, march down the field and score without the Colts or Vikings get the ball. He would have a heart attack.